Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Effects of maternal mental health on prenatal movement profiles in twins and singletons

Reissland, N.; Einbeck, J.; Wood, R.; Lane, A.

Effects of maternal mental health on prenatal movement profiles in twins and singletons Thumbnail


R. Wood


Aim: Prenatal experiences, including maternal stress, depression and anxiety, form crucial building blocks affecting the maturation of the fetal central nervous system. Previous research has examined fetal movements without considering effects of maternal mental health factors critical for healthy fetal development. The aim of this research is to assess the effects of maternal mental health factors on fetal twin compared with singleton movement profiles. Method: We coded fetal touch and head movements in 56 ultrasound scans, from a prospective opportunity sample of 30 mothers with a healthy pregnancy (mean gestational age 27.8 weeks for singleton and 27.2 for twins). At the ultrasound scan appointment, participants completed questionnaires assessing their stress, depression and anxiety. Results: Maternal depression increased fetal self-touch significantly. In fetal twins maternal stress significantly decreased and maternal depression significantly increased other twin touch. Maternal mental health factors affected the head movements of twins significantly more than singletons, with maternal depression decreasing head movement frequency for twins significantly. Conclusion: These results indicate that maternal mental health might have an impact on types of body schemata formed in utero, in twin compared with singleton pregnancies. Future research needs to examine whether these prenatal effects affect postnatal differences in body awareness.


Reissland, N., Einbeck, J., Wood, R., & Lane, A. (2021). Effects of maternal mental health on prenatal movement profiles in twins and singletons. Acta Paediatrica: Nurturing the Child, 110(9), 2553-2558.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 28, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 8, 2021
Publication Date Aug 8, 2021
Deposit Date May 4, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 5, 2021
Journal Acta Paediatrica
Print ISSN 0803-5253
Electronic ISSN 1651-2227
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 110
Issue 9
Pages 2553-2558


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (506 Kb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2021 The Authors. Acta Paediatrica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation Acta Paediatrica.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations